What is Photophobia?

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If you had an eye checkup recently, Photophobia may be a term that you heard your optometrist talking about. If so, you maybe be wondering a bit more about what Photophobia is, what it means for people who suffer from it, and what sort of treatment can be done for it.

What does photophobia mean?

Photophobia directly translates to “fear of light”. People who experience this are not actually afraid of light, but photophobia occurs when one’s eyes are highly sensitive to light, or even intolerant to it. This condition is more common than one might think and can occur for any reasons.

Various light sources can be an instigator of the sensitivity from sunlight, to fluorescent light, and incandescent light. When someone with photophobia encounters these lights, they will feel slight to intense discomfort. The feeling can result in intense pain in the eyes, behind the eyes, and in the head. One will also likely have the reaction of squinting and a desire to close the eyes.

Photophobia can have can take a hugely negative toll on someone’s quality of life, making it difficult for them to go about their difficult activities. It is so important for those who suffer from it to get answers as to the causes and solutions for this condition.

What causes photophobia?

The physicality behind photophobia involves the cells in your eyes that’s purpose serves to detect light along with the nerve that connects from the eye to the inside of your head. The most common cause of photophobia stems from those suffering from frequent migraines. Almost 80% of people who experience common migraines experience this light sensitivity.

Various other headaches can also be the cause of photophobia, including tension headaches and cluster headaches. There are also several brain-related conditions, viruses, etc. and other various health issues that can be linked to photophobia for instance:

• Meningitis
• Supranuclear palsy
• A serious injury to the brain
• Tumors in the pituitary gland
• Keratitis
• Iritis or uveitis
• Corneal abrasions
• Corneal ulcers
• Improper or excessive use of contact lenses
• Eye infections
• UV burns to the eye
• Rabies
• Various amphetamines
• Various medications such as belladonna, tetracycline and doxycycline, and quinine

What are the treatments for photophobia?
Typically, the most efficient way to treat photophobia is to figure out why it is happening and address that underlying issue. The best way to figure out any underlying issue is to visit an eye doctor.

If you are prone to photophobia and have already ruled out or addressed any of the above conditions, there are other steps that can be taken to help treat this condition. The most helpful is to wear glasses/sunglasses that have photochromic lenses and will automatically become darker when in direct sunlight. Lenses that are polarized are also helpful in providing protection and relief from harsh light.

Photophobia is a life-tolling condition that needs to be addressed. If you have more questions or feel like you are suffering from light sensitivity, come see us at our Arlington vision center. Here at First Eye Care, we are a trusted and caring center that cares about you and your family’s eye health. Contact us or come by today.

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